AB 540 Requirements for Eligibility

Student Any student, except a person in non-immigrant status, who meets the specific requirements, can be exempt from paying non-resident tuition at all public colleges and universities in California. This includes U.S. Citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents, and undocumented students.

A student eligible for non-resident tuition exemption under AB540 must have completed the following requirements:

  • Attended a California high school (public or private) for 3 or more years (does not need to be consecutive years)
  • Graduated from a California high school or have attained a G.E.D.; or received passing mark on the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) prior to the start of the term
  • Registered or be currently enrolled in one of the three state institutions of higher learning

California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request Form (AB 540 Affidavit)

In addition to fulfilling the requirements listed above, an undocumented student must complete and submit an affidavit with the individual institution stating that they will apply for legal residency as soon as they are eligible to do so. (Click here for link to affidavit form.)

The information provided on the affidavit by the student remains confidential as part of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that protects the privacy of a student's record. As a result, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) do not have access to this information. (For more information, see FERPA below.)

Please note that a student is not required to submit a new affidavit every year if continuous enrollment is maintained. Additionally, AB 540 does not grant undocumented students eligibility for federal and state financial aid.

AB 540 Ineligibility

Students that do not qualify for resident tuition under AB 540 can still apply and attend an institution of higher education as long as they meet the admissions criteria and are accepted by the college or university. However, they must pay non-resident fees.
Ineligible students include:

  • Students that do not meet the entire AB540 criterion; and
  • Students in the country under a non-immigrant visa (F, J, H, L, A, E, etc.)

Below is a sample copy of the form that must be submitted to request non-resident tuition exemption (AB540 affidavit). This form must be accompanied by an official high school transcript.

A downloadable form is located at: http://www.sjsu.edu/registrar/docs/ab540.pdf

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 protects the privacy of student records. FERPA provides the right to inspect and review educational records, to seek to amend those records, and to limit disclosure of information from the records. FERPA applies to all institutions that are the recipients of federal funding.

Students who are currently enrolled or formerly enrolled, regardless of their age or parental dependency status, are protected. FERPA does not apply to deceased students or persons who have applied, but have not attended the university.

Tax Reporting-TIN and Tax Form 1098-T

Near the end of the calendar year, students may be contacted by Bursar's Office informing them that the Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on their student account is either missing or invalid. This is done because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires all colleges and universities to request SSNs or ITINs from enrolled students in order to comply with Form 1098-T reporting requirements that pertain to educational tax credits (pursuant to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997.)

Students that do not possess or are ineligible to apply for a Social Security Number from the Social Security Administration (SSA) may apply to obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number from the office of Internal Revenue Services. This number is issued to individuals regardless of immigration status for tax reporting purposes.

For more information on how to apply for an ITIN, including the requirements on how to obtain this number, please visit the IRS website.

Please note that students who are not filing for tuition tax credit do not have to complete the Form W-9 (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification) nor provide an ITIN or SSN to the university. Students who are filing for tuition tax credit must follow the instructions to accommodate the Bursar's Office request.